DUSHANBE  - President Asif Ali Zardari on Saturday stressed the need for further enhancing trade and economic ties between Pakistan and Tajikistan through increased cooperation in diverse fields including energy, banking, tourism, connectivity and people-to-people contacts.
The President expressed these views while inaugurating along with Tajik President Emomali Rahmon a subsidiary of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) here in the Tajik capital. The President said he believed the bank branch will certainly give an impetus to Pak-Tajik economic relations and complement the excellent political relations.
President Zardari , who drove straight from the airport to the Business Centre for inauguration of the bank branch, was received there by the Tajik President. Both Presidents visited different sections of the branch.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Senator Farhatullah Babar, Senator Abbas Afridi and Pakistan’s Ambassador to Tajikistan Amjad B Sial were also present on the occasion.
The President appreciated the Government of Tajikistan as well as the National Bank of Tajikistan for their wholehearted cooperation in the establishment of NBP branch in Dushanbe.
He expressed his confidence that the establishment of Pakistani bank in Dushanbe will help strengthen the existing mutually beneficial cooperation between the two brotherly countries.
The President said the ever increasing foreign investment in Tajikistan reflects confidence of international community in the ongoing economic reforms process, adding that with the inception of investment friendly environment in Tajikistan, he was confident further foreign investment will come to this country.
He said Pakistan’s economic relations with Tajikistan were on an upward trajectory and bilateral trade had increased manifold during the last three years, but it was still much below its real potential.
The President said the two sides were working on the removal of impediments in their economic relations such as lack of air, road and rail links as well as difficulties faced by businessmen in transit of goods to Tajikistan.
He said the centuries old historical and cultural links between the brotherly people of Pakistan and Tajikistan provide a strong basis for further enhancing their economic relations, tourism and people-to-people contacts.
President Zardari expressed his gratitude to President Rahmon for joining him at the special occasion of inauguration of NBP branch and said, “It is through such inter-linkages that we can further cement our brotherly bonds.”
Speaking on the occasion, Tajik President Emomali Rahmon said the two brotherly countries have already strong and fast growing trade and economic ties and the establishment of National Bank branch in Dushanbe will further boost business to business contacts between them.
He said he and President Zardari during their talks on various occasions always discussed exploration of trade and commercial opportunities. “I am delighted to see that establishment of a Pakistani bank branch is becoming a reality.”
He said the new bank branch will be in their national benefit as it will facilitate their businessmen and traders in carrying out commercial and economic ventures. “We are determined to strengthen our bilateral relations in different areas including banking,” the Tajik President added.
He said, “the presence of National Bank in Dushanbe will prove to be an illuminating factor for enhanced trade linkages between Pakistan and Tajikistan and help in raising the living standards of the people of the two friendly countries.”